India to Pakistan: Crack down on social media misuse

India has asked Pakistan to crack down on elements based in that country who were using social media networking sites to whip up communal sentiments and set off panic among people of northeastern region living across India.

During a telephonic conversation that Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had with his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik, Shinde expressed concern over the issue of social media-networking sites being misused by elements based in Pakistan to circulate fake pictures and articles intended to whip up communal sentiments in India.

In the first direct contact between the two Ministers, Shinde sought Pakistan's cooperation in checking and neutralising such elements.

Sushil Kumar Shinde PTI

On Saturday night, Union Home Secretary RK Singh had said that bulk of the rumours that triggered panic among people of Northeastern states in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra were sourced from Pakistan.

"A total of 76 websites were identified where morphed images were uploaded, and the bulk of these were uploaded in Pakistan," Singh had said.

Malik, who telephoned Shinde to convey Eid greetings, briefly spoke of the pending issues between the Home and Interior Ministries of the two countries and reiterated his commitment to bring the masterminds and perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attack to justice, a Home Ministry spokesperson said.

Both have agreed to continue the mutual cooperation and to work towards rooting out terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

Shinde thanked Malik and conveyed his Eid wishes to him and the people of Pakistan. Shinde hoped that the occasion would herald an improvement in Indo-Pak relations. Malik also invited Shinde to visit Pakistan to sign the revised Visa agreement, which has now been agreed to by both sides.

Meanwhile in Pakistan, Malik said that India and Pakistan had expressed their resolve to work for the eradication of terrorism from the region and for the progress of the people of the two countries. "We will have to work jointly for the safety of the region," Malik said when asked by reporters about his phone conversation with Shinde.

Malik made no mention of Shinde's call for Pakistan to crack down on elements in the country who are using social media networking sites to whip up communal sentiments and create a scare among people of northeastern India.

He only said that he had invited Shinde to visit Pakistan to take forward work on a revised visa agreement between the two countries.

Pak mobile phone services to suspended

Pakistan itself is grappling with terrorism at home, and is looking to curtain mobile phone services in certain cities today owing to terrorist threats, Malik said. .

Malik said on Sunday that the cities of Lahore, Multan and Karachi faced the highest risk of terrorist activity, and some other parts of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan provinces too were under threat.

Law enforcement agencies had been notified, and mobile phone services may be suspended in these cities during Eid prayers and for up to 2.5 hours in the evening due to the terrorist threats, he added.

Pakistani media reported that a  cellular company suspended its services in Quetta on Sunday evening, and that other companies would soon suspend their services. Subscribers of various telecom companies in Lahore and Karachi too had experienced service suspension, the reports noted.

with inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Aug 20, 2012 07:58 AM

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